Spotted Goats and Head Butts

Quite a bit of ruckus going on in the goat barn this last week as Lulu, our gorgeous, spotted Nigerian goat was on the losing end of a tussle with a rattlesnake. We've had an unusual breed of rattlesnakes out here this year, many just don't rattle. It's like they're just too lazy to bother. Which is a bummer, because it's the distinctive sssshhhhhhh of the rattlesnake that alerts us of their presence. There was a couple years, about a decade ago...when the rattlesnakes on the farm were wildly aggressive; just exploding with rattles and hisses whenever someone came near. Those got thinned out pretty quickly because they alerted predators to their presence. Some locals are saying that the California rattlesnake has bred with other snakes and the current breed of rattlesnake is a hybrid. I'm hoping that's just folklore because a non-rattling, lazy but still venomous snake is pretty bad news.

Poor Lulu's face is swollen to the point she doesn't look like herself at all. We can debate this all day long, but Lulu (named after my girlfriend MaryAnn's daughter, Lulu) is really the prettiest Nigerian miniature dairy goat I have ever seen. She's goat-candy stunning. And her temperament is what all breeders look for in a goat; calm, friendly, gentle; yet with enough spunk and personality that hanging out with her is rewarding.

Her father, Carl The Criminal, was no help at all while Lulu recovered. In fact, annoyed that she wasn't playful or acting like herself, he actually head butted her. Way to go, dad. Nothing says I Love You like a headbutt.  Lance had to banish Carl from the inner part of the barn to protect Lulu. Rosie is Lulu's mom, and she cuddled with her sick daughter until Lance arrived to relieve her, which was interesting because they don't hang out together normally.  Lance is a bit protective of his goats, as anyone who has entered the inner sanctum of Lance's goat barn can attest to. Although Boo Boo is his favorite because he bottle fed her and she imprinted onto him as her "mother," Lance spends time with the whole herd and they eagerly look forward to his twice daily treat-laden visits. Boo boo gets the lion's share of treats, as her figure attests to. (She's not fat he says...she's big boned.) Whatever.  If he skips a visit, we can hear Carl yelling from the barn that the day isn't going well.  When the vet suggested Lulu not be left alone to increase her chances of survival, that left two choices. Lance could coax Lulu into the house and tarp an area for her to sleep, or Lance could sleep in the barn. Now, we've already established that Lance has no problem whatsoever with goats in the house, a former issue that we have agreed to cease discussing.  The arguments that goats can be house trained and that there's no difference between a house trained goat and a house trained dog are dog earred and tired.  But at it turns out, Lance chose to sleep in the barn because he didn't want to move Lulu and force her away from the herd when she was already stressed.

Into the barn we dragged cardboard boxes as a make-shift sleeping spot, and Lance set himself up for a crummy night of goat watching...and being watched. The herd had a perplexing time with this new cardboard wielding herd feature. As creatures of habit, Lance did not belong in the barn at 2 in the morning. They were alarmed by this development and stood around him staring and nibbling on his cardboard bed. As anyone who has woken up with a small child hovering above starring at them, it's definitely creepy to try to sleep while being stared at.

We're rooting for Lulu, and will keep you posted here!


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